Law Schools

Northwestern considering GRE scores as an alternative to the LSAT

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Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law/Shutterstock

Although the issue of law schools accepting the Graduate Record Examination as an admissions test is still being considered by the ABA’s Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, Northwestern University’s Pritzker School of Law is the latest to consider those scores over the traditional Law School Admissions Test.

“This is a new world. Law schools are looking at much more sophisticated data. It’s just simply a matter of time, and probably a short amount of time, before the hegemony of the LSAT will destabilize and law schools will be looking at other criteria for admission,” Daniel B. Rodriguez, dean of the law school, told the Chicago Tribune.

Northwestern is conducting a national study about the GRE’s validity with the Educational Testing Service, according to an ETS spokeswoman. The ETS, which designs and administers the GRE, began the study in 2015 with the University of Arizona’s James E. Rogers College of Law. The Tucson-based law school announced last year that it was experimenting with letting applicants submit GRE scores.

Harvard Law School announced in March that it will accept the GRE in lieu of the LSAT, starting this fall.

Under the current version of Standard 503, which deals with law school admissions, law schools using alternative tests must demonstrate that the exams are valid and reliable. A proposed rule revision, which the Standards Review Committee put forth in February, suggests that the Council of ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar establish a process to determine the reliability and validity of other tests.

The proposed revision is under consideration by the council, and a hearing (PDF) is scheduled for July 13 in Chicago.

The ETS spokeswoman expects that the study will include more than 12 law schools, and the organization will submit comments about the proposed revision to Standard 503 at the July 13 hearing.

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